Khelo India In The Time Of Corona

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Umar Mukhtar

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In times of Coronovirus when England Cricket Board (ECB) has decided that its players would not shake hands with the Sri Lankan players in the upcoming tournament, the administration in Kashmir is set to hold the First Khelo India Winter Games at Gulmarg.

Around 830 players from different parts of the country will participate in 30 events which include Snow Skiing, Snow Boarding, Cross Country, Snow show, Snow Cycling and other snow-based events.

The tournament that starts from March 7 would run for 4 days. To make it a grand event Dhambali dancers would perform at the inaugural event. Dhambali dance is one of the most popular dance forms of Kashmir and is performed on several cultural and social events across Kashmir region.

This is the third Khelo India event but it is first time the winter games would be held under this banner. The government wants to showcase the event as a return to normalcy in Kashmir. Secretary, Jammu and Kashmir Sports Council, Naseem Choudhary, said that the participants  in the event  will become Kashmir’s brand ambassadors. He said the event would also project the scenic beauty of Gulmarg  across  India and draw more tourists to the Valley. However holding of event at a time when worldover concerts and events are avoided to contain the spread the Coronavirus has caused concern in Kashmir.People are seeking cancellation of the event in the interest of the larger good. And to this end, a petition on change.org  is drawing support from a large number of people.

“Amid the Coronavirus outbreak, when the whole world is on high alert and is putting precautionary measures  including cancelling all small and big events to contain the spread of the epidemics. Having an event like Khelo India Winter Games-2020 in Gulmarg Kashmir between 7-11 March 2020 is highly irresponsible. The event puts the lives of thousands of people travelling and the community of Kashmir in great risk and danger,” reads the petition.

The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan has chaired a high-level meeting to review all arrangements put in place for The event..

The Divisional Commissioner directed concerned officers to set up round the clock control rooms at Srinagar, Tangmarg and Gulmarg comprising officers from PHE, PDD, Medical, Police, SDRF and concerned Magistrates to monitor all activities with backup plan till the culmination of the mega sporting event.

However, health department will screen all players at Airport and  National Highway to check Coronavirus symptoms. In case of any exigency, department will initiate immediate measures.

Union sports minister Kirran Rijju would be the chief guest on the event. “Come, witness and enjoy India’s 1st ever #KheloIndia Winter Games at Gulmarg, Jammu & Kashmir from 7-11 March, 2020! It will not only promote sports but also generate huge tourism Industry and benefit the local economy.” Kirran Rijju tweeted.

Fake Sports Certificates

People with sports certificates are a privileged lot in Kashmir. They have an edge everywhere, be it the jobs, promotions or admissions. But a recent scam that hit the headlines shows that there are hardly any deserving people who have rightfully earned this privilege. In a recent sports certificate scam, Crime Branch Kashmir charge sheeted 14 people.

The case pertains to the illegal appointments made in the Physical Education Department (PET), Budgam.

During the course of an investigation, it was established that seven candidates had managed their selection on the basis of fake National Sports Certificates, purportedly issued by various Sports Federations of India.

The accused who had been booked include Mohammad Shafi Parray S/o Ghulam Mohiud Din R/o Beerwah Budgam, Javid Ahmad Akhoon S/o Ghulam Rasool R/o Kanihama, Beerwah, Maqsood Ali War S/o Mohammad Ramzan R/o Peth Makhama, Beerwah, Agha Syed Mehmood S/o Syed Jaffer R/o Ichgam Budgam, Nisar Ahmad Rather S/O Sabir Ali R/o Ichgam, Budgam, Mohammad Ayoub Raina S/o Ghulam Ahmad Raina R/o Hassipora, Chadoora and Ghulam Jeelani Shah S/o Hafizullah Shah R/o Kakapora Pulwama.

During the investigations it was found  that all certificates produced by the accused were fake and accordingly, charges have been pressed against them in the court.

Directorate of Youth Services and Sports, J&K, has cancelled 14 such appointments but a question arises will it stop here or there is more to dig.

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About Author

Umar Mukhtar is a Srinagar based journalist. He is covering human rights and the changing political landscape of the valley.

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